Foundations For Understanding Government - 1
Kingdom, will, authority. These are just a few of the key terms we use as believers to explain the agenda of God in the universe and in the earth. These terms are wrapped up in the concept we call "government." We sing about them all the time, and they continually pepper our prayers:
"Thy kingdom come, Lord, Thy will be done...show us Your power and come rule in Your great authority."
Isn't this what we constantly ask?
Our God is a very governmental God. The entirety of all we believe and profess about Him is enfolded in these terms.
Beneath them, other key concepts lie at the heart of government. They include the word, and truth. The essence of government is found in the establishment of truth through the spoken and written word. The word is the source of our concept of law, which we readily associate with government. Law is but the spoken word written and codified.
The Relationality of Government
Because we speak the word to one another, government is also necessarily relational. Government is about how we relate one with another through the word in a context of truth. The relational nature of the word, hence of law, is embodied in the word contract. We don't just have law, we have contract. We come to verbal and written agreement over issues. Some have said that all law is essentially contract, and all contract is the essence of law. Contract law is central to all human legal systems. Another word for contract law is compact. And contract of the highest order is called covenant.
Our God is not just governmental. He is relationally governmental—and is so of the highest order. He is Covenantal. We see the relationality of His government through His covenants with us. First we have the old covenant. And now we have the new covenant. We are under the new compact, the new contract, the new law. The first expression of His law and covenant was through the flesh. Now it is of the Spirit. Aren't you glad for that? Shouldn't we all be? (But that is for another discussion.)
The context for God's relational government is truth. Truth is the context for His word, His law, His contract and His covenant. And so is it ordained to be among us. We are to be speakers of truth, exercisers of truth in relationship at all levels of agreement—in simple agreement ("Let your yes be yes"), in contractual agreement, in nuptial agreement, and in covenant. Whether our word is small or large, casual or intently grave, our word is to be true. God exercises His government in truth. Truth is the standard of His Word. And so it goes. These are inseparably intertwined.
Against the Kingdom of this World
For better understanding by contrast, let's consider what we mean when we say this divine kingdom of relational truth must "grow" and expand in the earth. We say this in contrast to the existence of another kind of kingdom that already inhabits the earth. It is a kingdom built on the word of lies. It is a government built on broken covenant and upon fraudulent contract. It is built on treason against truth, and upon treachery against treaty. It is called the kingdom of this world.
As a kingdom born and administered in lies, the kingdom of this world cannot be converted. Lies are intrinsic to its nature. It can only be replaced. It is the intent of the kingdom of God to replace the kingdoms of this world through destruction. The prophets are emphatic and unequivocal about this.
So it is that the government of the spoken word in truth by contract, compact and covenant is destined to overtake and replace the government of the word of lies manifest through fraudulent contract and broken covenant through sinful flesh. Truth is inseparably essential to the nature, expression and meaning of divine government—i.e., of the kingdom of God, in contrast to the kingdom of this world.
The Church and the Nations
The truthful kingdom of God and the fraudulent kingdom of men of this world are manifest through two primary vehicles or bodies. The kingdoms of this world are manifest through the fleshly body of the nations with their frail human compacts. The kingdom of God is manifest through the body of the spiritual Church with its New Covenant.
While this dual outline is so in principle, in reality and outworking a struggle exists between them that clouds their natures and identities.
As His core kingdom entity in the earth, Jesus said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." In other words, Jesus expected that He should be able—through the word of truth in His new spiritual Covenant with born again believers—to ultimately defeat the gates of the kingdoms of this world built on their fraudulent contracts, corrupt monetary systems and broken treaties. He expected the Church to be able to conquer the kingdoms of men built on lies.
But the visible record has told a different tale. It has shown the kingdoms of this world to prevail against the gates of "the church." The visible church has been infested with lies—at every level of governmental relationship. In simple friendship, in marriage, in business—the professing church has more manifested the nature of the kingdoms of this world than relational truth. Christians lie and cheat against one another all the time. Christians consistently prove themselves incapable of relational compact, contract or covenant. This is true even in the "prophetic" church—the supposed repository of the "spoken law of God" for this hour.
The Gates of Hell Within
To be fair to the Lord's word however, we must understand that the visible physical church is ultimately not the definition of "Church" Jesus had in mind. The church the Lord envisioned begins in the born again spirit of fallen man himself. It is fallen men who are internally converted by the Spirit, who must then contend with the gates of their own flesh, ie, within the borders of the visible church—where within their own flesh yet remains the power of the kingdom of this world—which internal conflict appears to demonstrate hell's victory over the gates of the church.
The super-reality is that the Church Jesus builds prevails first against the gates of hell within its own believers—before it ever brings down the gates in the government of men! Every one of us believers has gates of hell that must be overcome by the Spirit within us.
And so then, Christ's promised victory over hell's gates is not about the immediate visible church's victory over the world's governments, but about those within it who are first procuring victory over their own fleshly gates! His promise is not to the professing Church in whom no such victory is manifest. It is to those in whom the Spirit of Truth actually works to first break down their own internal gates of lies. The gates of hell are firstly the gates of flesh within the visible church itself over which Jesus has promised His internally overcoming Spirit-filled church will prevail.
This may not be clear now. But soon—when the dawn of immortality breaks to bear unsullied witness under the light of day, we will see who the prevailing overcoming Church of Christ truly is. And at that time we shall also go on to see the downfall and replacement of the kingdoms of this world by that internally overcoming church. Don't fret right now about who the visible Church appears [not] to be in its faulty contest with the kingdoms of men.
The plan is bigger than we see. Jesus is still proving the identity of His governmental church within the bodies of those called His "church" before He goes on to use His manifest proven glorified kingdom church to bring down and replace the kingdoms of lies ruling this world's peoples. His judgment begins at our own gates. The development of the church within the church has always been his main theater of operation.
The Three-Fold Order of Government
In keeping with His Trinitarian nature, God's kingdom is reflected through three primary governmental offices. These are the prophet, the priest and the king. Of course, these three are totally embodied in Christ. Yet they were and remain planted into the nature of His body, first under fleshly Old Covenant Israel and now in the spiritual New Covenant Church.
In ancient Israel, the three offices of divine government were clearly identified. Everyone knew who the priests were, who the prophets were, and who the king was. Interestingly, the role of the king was originally reserved for God Himself. Israel was to have no king but Jehovah. But they wanted a king like the nations, and so the divine government began to be corrupted when He gave them their wish. (Not long following, their priests and prophets became like those of the nations as well, offering false sacrifices to false gods and speaking falsely the legislative mind of God.)
In the New Covenant Church, the kingship is once again returned spiritually to Christ. There is no king in the Church but Him, although the same corruptions have occurred in the visible church, giving us the equivalent of "kings" in the forms of senior pastors and chief apostles. Meanwhile, the prophetic role has been restored to the prophets, while the priestly role has been committed to the intercessors.
Even among the kingdoms of men, we see the three fold image of divine government. These have come down to us through the executive, legislative and judicial branches of human government. The executive branch answers to the kingship, the legislative answers to the prophetic, through whom the living law of the Lord is decreed, and the judicial answers to the priesthood. These three branches were clearly projected by Isaiah:
Isa: 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, The LORD is our lawgiver, The LORD is our king; He will save us-
The Atonement, the Gospel and the Government of God
Hardly a topic stirs me more at present than the import of the atonement and the gospel to that of divine government. From before the fall of the world, before there were kingdoms of men, the Lamb was slain. Atonement was a part of the divine heart and mind before there was ever a creation over which anyone was to rule, even God Himself.
Yet the idea of atonement and of the New Covenant Gospel which bears its present truth are almost entirely estranged from anyone's understanding of divine government and authority! This is so not only among the kingdoms of men, but within the very church committed with the one true word of atonement through the gospel. Look at this more closely...
From the time of the first sin, before there was human government, there was atonement. God slew animals to make coverings for the nakedness of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). Abel understood the atonement and offered a blood sacrifice. Cain did not, then would not, murdering his brother—in effect committing the first act of false atonement. Nevertheless, men went on to offer blood sacrifices. Noah offered sacrifices—being the one to whom the first word of human government was committed, a word that required the shedding of blood for the shedding of blood (Gen. 9:6).
In this respect, the concept of atonement was built into the very first legal system prescribed by God for man in the earth. Capital punishment and hence all justice among men is descended from the universal concept of atonement. Someone has to pay for sin, whether it is with his own blood or with that of another for him. All human government is a reflection of that universal divine maxim.
Yet men have gone on to build government apart from the atonement, or with respect to false atonement—i.e., the offering of blood sacrifices to false gods. Today in the modern human mind, the concept of atonement for sin from which all law is descended is absolutely foreign. And where true atonement fails, false atonement prevails through human bloodshed as seen with Cain, whether of adult murder or abortion. See how relationship to atonement affects government!
The Church and the Gospel
This brings us to the church and to the Gospel. To the church has been committed the word of true atonement for this age through the Gospel. The Gospel of atonement through the blood of Christ is at the heart of the kingdom of God. The government of God is established through the exercise of the atonement. The gospel is necessarily governmental because the atonement it preaches is at the heart of divine government.
Yet the church doesn't even understand the governmental nature of its own atoning message. The church has little understanding of how "salvation from sin" has anything to do with government, either within itself or among men. The church sees government and authority and "kingdom" in sterile terms of "will" and "power" only. Though it preaches salvation from sin, it makes no connection between salvation and government. It preaches the idea of kingdom as somehow other than or "beyond" the idea of salvation from sin. It sees kingdom in power terms of anointing, but not in atoning terms of the blood.
Let's get this straight. When Jesus says He is the only way to God, He is speaking governmentally with respect to atonement. Atoning for sin is not just a side hobby of God's while His "real" interest is somehow in "the kingdom." The will of God cannot be executed in the earth where the sins of men remain unatoned. God's rule depends on the manifest exercise of the atonement, from which all divine justice further flows and is to be administered. Without atonement, humans may not be allowed to remain on the earth.
The reason the kingdoms of this world must ultimately fall is because they remain by nature of unredeemable flesh outside the atonement. Their sins will be judged and their works under those sins will be destroyed. Interesting it is, don't you think, that at the end, the "kings of the earth" all cry for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the "wrath of the Lamb." Here is the Lamb who sits on the Throne. And He is judging everything in wrath that has not been brought into harmony and submission to the will of God through His blood. That is what He meant when He said "No man comes to the Father but by Me."
So, do you want to live? Then you better come under the government of the atonement. Why do you think the concept of the slain Lamb seated on the Throne is so prominent and central to the rule of heaven?? It is because atonement is at the heart of all divine government. Yet neither the nations nor the church seem to know this.
I find today an inherently deep distaste for the subject of divine government in the church. I similarly find distaste for the idea of truth, either doctrinal or relational. And anything else God has to say to us down to the core message of salvation through the blood of Christ is utterly stripped of any governmentality. There is the idea that salvation has nothing to do with government, and that government is otherwise all about power, whether political power or the power of the anointing.
There is also an idea that relationship, and especially the concept of love, is separate from truth, has nothing to do with relational justice, and that to discuss truth and justice somehow "quenches the Spirit." All sense of governmentality has been removed from the idea of relationship. Loving relationship is not thought to be about truth in the spoken word. It is about warm fuzzy feelings in the Lord under "The Presence." That is all. So it is I unsurprisingly find a wholesale unwillingness to hold one another accountable in relationship—whether for our words or actions or attitudes. Even in the prophetic intercessory worship church, people just "walk away." Some "kingdom."
All of this speaks to a lack of the fear of God in our midst as believers. If we feared God, we would love the truth. And if we loved truth, we would love the government of God in our midst, beginning with relational justice and the accountable measuring of all of our words.
And yet, I remain gripped by the importance which the Lord and the apostles assign to the idea of authority, the will of God, the kingdom of God, as well as to the atonement, forgiveness and mercy—how these are to be exercised through the speaking of truth in all relationship, and how the Lord intends for the demonstration of this government of relational truth to ultimately preempt the government of men rooted in lies and fraud, and how all of it is based in the atonement by the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.
Despite what I see of the visible church's chronic immaturity and innate despising and divorcing of divine government from every other subject, I am nevertheless persuaded of the nearness of the conquering of the worldly by the divine. The Lord still has a hidden overcoming Gideon's Army and a rag tag band following the spirit of David in the wilderness. And he is beginning to move to deliver the undeserving by the hands of the few who are faithful to his governmental agenda in the earth.
Like Father, Like Son Revisited
Some time ago, I wrote the article Like Father, Like Son detailing the prophetic parallels between the expansion of David's kingdom over his enemies and the coming expansion of Christ's coming over his enemies after his return. Here today, certain thoughts on the front end of David's kingdom deserve additional note for their prophetic parallel to what the Lord is doing prior to His crowning return.
Before David "retuned" to visibly reign over Israel, he was left to the wilderness under persecution of the forces of Saul. Now how many times have we heard about the Saul vs. David spirit in the church? The truth is we are still in the closing of the era of Saul. The entire church age has been the Age of Saul in the church. Saul has reigned as far as the eye can see. We don't need to belabor that here.
But what I want to get at today is the nucleus of what formed David's government out in the wilderness before he "returned." Three terms are used to describe that first band of 400 followers. These men were distressed, in debt, and discontented of soul.
I Sam. 22:2 And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt , and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.
And why were they all these things? It's because that is what the reign of Saul brought to them—as Samuel prophesied it would.
Tell me. Do any of these terms sound like you feel? Are you distressed, in debt and discontented over what you see in the church and world around you?
Today the blind prophetic church (what an oxymoron) is oblivious to the governmental nature of the Son of God and His plan for return to rule over the nations of the earth.
Yet while the church is asleep in a prophetic dream world under Saul, God is developing a "band of 400" from among the distressed, indebted and embittered under the bondage of this world's Saulic kingdoms.
While the church talks "kingdom" and dabbles on the edges of superficial politics, there is a prophetic corps being raised to take on the kingdoms of this world at their root of false atonement and covenant. It is a despised desert movement. But it is real and it is growing. Could you be one of them?
This all has personal meaning to me as I see the Lord wanting to take the fight of the overcomers for spiritual truth and the atonement out of the church and to the very gates of the human governmental system itself—even if only by those few in number who have the vision for it. I find myself now inexorably engaged in that conflict through an intercessory ministry committed to exposing the fraud behind the legal and banking systems of this nation. I labor under the deep, constant impression of the continuing rise of the sea beast, the nearing expulsive deliverance of the woman into the wilderness and the imminent downfall of Nebuchadnezzar's statue. My heart is seeing imminent preempting of the kingdoms of this world by the genuine, spiritually empowered and manifest kingdom of God.
Today's writing is only to bear witness to what my heart is seeing. It is not to declare, "OK. This is it. Pack up and let's go." The critical mass is not there yet. Nevertheless, the Lord is impressing a new governmental seal on many hearts and foreheads, mine included. May you likewise be stirred from slumber to lift your eyes to a higher plain of kingdom authority as we close in on the glorious return of the Lord. Business as usual under the world's corporate kingdoms is coming to a swift end. And it affects you greatly!
Prepare to govern.
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created February 27, 2013